Punjab officials to face action if surroundings not maintained

Chandigarh, Aug 30 (IANS) Officials availing of government residence facility without bothering to take care of their surroundings would henceforth invite punitive action from their ‘landlord’ – the Punjab government.

The Punjab government on Sunday announced “exhaustive directions” to all officials enjoying government accommodation to properly maintain gardens and green areas around their residences, failing which they were liable to punitive action by their respective Heads of Departments (HoDs).

“Where the garden attached to government residential buildings has been laid out, and hedges, trees, shrubs and vegetation of a lasting character have been planted, the government, like any other landlord, is entitled to see that these amenities are properly maintained,” a state government spokesman said on Sunday.

He said those living in government residences would be required to take care of grounds as a condition of their tenancy.

“In case of default, the HoD is empowered to call upon the occupants to bring the grounds up to proper standard of upkeep and, if necessary, to authorise incurring of expenditure and charging the same to the tenant in addition to the rent,” the spokesman said.

The Punjab government move follows instances in Chandigarh and other places where government accommodation is maintained well in the inside but surrounding areas around government residences were neglected by occupants that presented a shabby picture of the locality.

The Punjab government allots government accommodation, including sprawling bungalows, to its ministers, senior functionaries, officers and employees in state capital Chandigarh, at district headquarters and other towns.

The spokesman said all trees, whether planted by tenants or not, in the compounds of government residences, are the property of the state government.

No standing trees should be felled nor dead or fallen trees be appropriated by the tenants for use whatever, without the sanction of the competent authority.

However, the tenant of a government residential building is entitled to the fruit, flowers and vegetables, crops sown or raised by him and which may be disposed of by him during the actual period of the tenancy.

“The share of responsibilities between in-coming and out-going incumbents for any expenditure incurred in compliance with the above orders would be determined according to the circumstances, the HoD being the arbiter in the case of a dispute,” he said.

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